Jim Gould Events Page
The Floor Covering Institute has been approved by the United Nations to use the
International Year of Forests 2011 Logo and will promote themes central to the year long
celebration for the international floor covering industry.
What is the International Year of the Forests 2011 and why is it
important to the floor covering industry?
The Lacey Act Amendments in the US, FLEGT in the EU and other legislation around the world
are focused on legal harvesting of trees but a serious issue of total forest destruction
through mismanagement of forests remains a growing threat to the planet and the lives and
livelihood of many hundreds of millions of people. Each year million of acres of forests are lost
to deforestation. Thus, the International Year of Forests is designed to raise awareness and
promote global action to sustainably manage, conserve and develop all types of forests.
The UN has approved The Floor Covering Institute to bring attention to the Year of the
Forests and we of course will bring the message to our industry. We are building the
educational program at the international Wood Flooring Forum (March 21, 2011) in
Shanghai around this and related themes and will promote the IYF also at Domotex Asia
China Floor (March 22-24, 2011) in Shanghai, for example. There are opportunities to do
the same at other venues. The Wood Flooring Forum will bring together wood flooring
industry partners from around the world to discuss the status of issues affecting the global
industry. The impact of sustainable forestry practices is one of those issues and the WFF will
help kick off events for the International Year of the Forests.
Because the hardwood flooring industry depends upon the continuation of healthy forests we
hope that our industry will embrace this message and use it to help educate our consumers
about the importance of carbon sequestration and the role that their hardwood floors play in
extending those benefits. You can read more about that in my blog post "Wood flooring's role
as a sustainable carbon storage container needs to be told."
Trees are carbon storage containers and a primary tool in the
process of carbon sequestration. As trees grow they absorb carbon
dioxide. They release the oxygen into the environment and
sequester the carbon. In fact, up to half of a tree’s dry weight is
carbon. When timber is transformed into durable products, like
flooring, the carbon remains in the wood and is transferred to the
flooring which becomes a long-term carbon storage container (or
“sink” in the vernacular) for the life of the floor. In the parlance of
international carbon storage protocols, durable goods made from
forest products are called “harvested wood products” or HWP. The
transfer of carbon to HWP is a much studied and known scientific fact.
Why is this important to the flooring industry?
It is important for the flooring and other timber products industries to recognize that
consumers will be hearing a lot about the urgent need for sustainable forest practices in the
coming year. The UN's hope is that through increased awareness the world may begin to
demand that forests be sustainably managed. It is equally logical to conclude that consumer
purchasing trends may shift towards wood products that can demonstrate they were once
part of a sustainably managed forest. The flooring industry needs to be mindful of this.
It is especially important for the flooring industry to educate the world that cutting trees in
forests in a managed program is good for the environment. There is no comparison between
harvesting mature trees and sequestering their carbon in a durable product like hardwood
flooring versus letting trees die and decompose. Follow that with replanting new trees to
capture more carbon dioxide and our forests become the perfect environmental washing
machine. If we do not educate consumers of these facts we run the risk of consumers
developing the perception that cutting trees for flooring is not good for the environment and
sales could suffer worldwide.
The key is to assure consumers that durable products made of wood are good for the
environment whether they are softwood, hardwood or exotics so long as they are harvested
responsibly from a managed forest. It is better for the environment to harvest a two hundred
year old exotic species tree and turn it into flooring than to let it die and rot in the forest, or
worse yet burn it to clear land. Harvesting and replanting trees to maximize carbon
sequestration continues and extends the good work of the forests.
Why did the UN decide to declare the upcoming year the Year of the
The UN feels a sense of urgency to bring attention to the important role that forests play in
our lives – the multitude of products and sources of income derived from them as we well
know in the flooring industry, but also they are the home to 90% of the world’s life forms,
they protect watersheds and of course they play a huge role in carbon sequestration.
Sustainable forestry practices must be employed so that we continue to receive these
benefits. Next year the message will be carried throughout countries around the world: Brazil,
Guam, Viet Nam, Japan, Korea, the Czech Republic, China, the U.S, Mexico and list goes on, in
hopes of reaching across demographics, ages, and cultures with the same message: support
conservation and sustainable development of forests on a global scale.
How is the Year of the Forest going to be promoted?
The UN has invited all UN member countries to celebrate the year in ways that are meaningful
to them. The idea is for the message about the importance of forests in our lives to be
promoted outside of the forestry circles to where the message needs to take hold.
governments, regional, civil, private and international organizations are being asked to create
events that call attention to forests. Planned activities vary from programs for children to
exchange forests from one country to another, a commemorative stamp series and contests
for artists, from high level speeches with pomp in circumstance in one venue to planting trees
in another. The celebrations planned so far are quite varied and still being formulated.
|...consumers will be
hearing a lot about
the urgent need for
practices in the
the world may
begin to demand
that forests be
may shift towards
wood products that
they were once part
of a sustainably
Use of the Year of the
Forests Logo is regulated
by the United Nations. If
you are interested in using
the logo you can download
the application here.